The following is an excerpt from a posting Mr. Sunbeam put together during the DMN's 2006 buyout. It seems worth repeating.
With the usual caveat about listening to financial advice from journalism school graduates:
A couple of people have mentioned that if those taking the buyout currently have a payroll deduction for a DMN subscription, that deduction may carry over to your severance check. Some folks laid off in 2004 said they were tapped for a year-long subscription amount. Perhaps it would be a good idea to review all current discretionary payroll deductions before Sept. (12).
Also on that front, those who have Flexible Spending Accounts (or FSAs) for day care or health care should check with Belo Benefits or reliable outside sources to confirm whether you must spend the total amount in your account before leaving the DMN.
For those unfamiliar with COBRA, you have 60 days (or until Nov. 12) after you leave the DMN to sign up. The benefits run for up to 18 months - even though the DMN is paying you for only 6 months. COBRA runs about $950 a month for a family policy and about $400 a month for an individual policy. You can also pay an additional premium for dental coverage. For more info on COBRA check out www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.html The Carter Financial Management folks emphasized at the seminar Thursday that you should NOT go without health insurance coverage, even for a month. One of the Carter advisors said he was in a serious car accident while in between jobs and would have been crushed financially without COBRA coverage. You can purchase short-term health insurance at group rates through a professional association like the Society of Professional Journalists or a college alumni organization. Both the Texas A&M and University of Texas ex-student associations, for example, offer this option to their members.
One more thing that was also mentioned during the 2006 buyout:
You might want to consider having any elective medical procedures between now and Sept. 12 while you remain on the Belo insurance plan.